Preface and Chapter One from the book Daston, Lorraine, and Peter Galison, 'Objectivity'
Virgil Widrich presented the book ‘Objectivity’ by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, (New York; Cambridge Mass.: Zone Books, 2007) questioning and engaging with what objectivity means in the history of scientific images. How is the historicity of objectivity, and how does history operate? Here, we refrain from referring to a singular objectivity. Through the text, Widrich told of the history of drawing and the ways objectivity relates to filmmaking and photography: A kind of travelling in time, from the quicksilver drops; Arthur Norrington’s experiments; the ideas of symmetry and assumptions that photography later questioned; to contemporary subjects emerging within REM techniques. The discussion drew from the following points:
1. Observation of nature (The drawing of the perfect flower, which may not exist without a requisite criteria of perfection. One rose vs. photographing 100 roses. What is still a rose? A finalised idea of something?)
2. Mechanical objectivity (manipulation of images, photographic and digital techniques)
3. Trained judgment (How to see if something is abnormal. What is outside the norm? X-ray / REM techniques and problems in identifying a range).
Reflections on centered around: collective imperialism, concrete studying, learning; parameters, how to look at things; pictures, data, and the nuances dealt with in the definition of characteristics.